MORGANTOWN, W.Va. Many across the state are praising the selection of Jonathan Board as the executive director of the West Virginia First Foundation, the body that will manage and distribute nearly $1 billion in opioid settlement funds.

Monongalia County Commissioner Tom Bloom understands why the selection was made. Board was selected as the Region 4 representative to the foundation back in July.

“He understands what is really going on; he understands how it affects communities and hospitals, and he understands the toll it takes on a family,” Bloom said.

Region 4 was the first region to establish a nomination process at the regional level and is now the first to replace a representative.

“It looks like in April we will meet again to make nominations and choose a person to represent Region IV on the board,” Bloom said.

The process is not set, but Bloom proposes each county and municipality will be able to to make a nomination. In July, a total of six nominations were reviewed, representing 28 of the 76 government organizations in the region. In April, there could be a maximum of 26 nominations, but Bloom believes that number will be much lower.

“Each county can choose a recommendation, and each city can make a recommendation,” Bloom said. “The potential is up to 26 possible candidates, and I believe we’ll have between five and ten.”

Bloom stressed that this is a preliminary plan to fill the Region 4 representative possession to foundation and be altered after review.

“We were the first ones to set up a meeting to set up members of the board and the review committee, so now this is the first time someone is not on it and we have replaced them,” Bloom said. “So, this is all new territory.”

Region 4 includes the host county, Monongalia and Harrison, Marion, Lewis, Upshur, Barbour, Preston, Braxton, Tucker, Randolph, Gilmer, Taylor and Doddridge Counties.